Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Haftorah Beam - Shemot

Starting the second book of the Torah - Exodus - the Torah portion recaps the genealogy of the Hebrew tribes in Egypt as they transformed from a large clan to a nation.  There are 2 different Haftarot for this parsha, one favored by Ashkenazim, and the other by Sefardim.  The Ashkenazi selection focuses on the oppression and redemption of the Jewish people, while the Sefardi version focuses on the experience of the prophet tasked with leading the liberation.  I find the second more inspiring!

Like Moses in the Exodus story, the prophet Jeremiah protests his inadequacy, especially in the area of speech:
Ah, Lord God!
I don't know how to speak,

For I am still a boy.
and, in a reply which aptly echoes His words at the Burning Bush, G*d says,
Do not say, "I am still a boy,"
But go wherever I send you

And speak whatever I command you.

 Have no fear of them,
For I am with you to deliver you
He proceeds to outline the hardships and challenges which will befall the Jewish people as the two kingdoms separate and fall before their enemies.  However, G*d then repeats the call, promising His support in the face of all obstacles, as well as the eventual victory:
17 So you, gird up your loins, 
Arise and speak to them 

All that I command you.  

Do not break down before them, 

Lest I break you before them.

 I make you this day 
A fortified city, 

And an iron pillar, 

And bronze walls

Against the whole land — 

Against Judah's kings and officers, 

And against its priests and citizens.

 They will attack you, 
But they shall not overcome you; 

For I am with you — declares the Lord — to save you.
This time of year, the secular calendar offers us a chance to turn a new leaf.  Many people make New Year's Resolutions.  What obstacles seem insurmountable this year?  Which are worth tackling?  Which pursuits can we envision G*d challenging us to "gird up our loins" in, and pledging to be with us in battle?

Happy New Year!

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